National Express passengers furious after train delays and ticket clampdown
Commuters were left furious this morning after National Express East Anglia (NXEA) and police continued a “heavy handed” ticket-checking exercise despite passengers being delayed by up to two hours.
The Recorder witnessed angry scenes at Liverpool Street as passengers who had previously been stuck on delayed trains were held up to 10 minutes at barriers while dozens of uniformed and undercover police officers joined rail staff to check every single ticket.
The delays were blamed on signal failure around Stratford, coupled with a broken down mainline train in Ingatestone, Essex, which had a major knock on for Metro services from Shenfiel to Ilford and Stratford to Liverpool Street.
While furious season ticket holders shouted at platform staff in London, others still stuck on board trains took to the website Twitter to vent their anger.
Phillip Rowlands, of Chadwell Heath, said he started his journey at 7.50am: “The train called Goodmayes, Seven Kings and Ilford, then lumbered along the track for another 30 minutes!
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“I don’t think 50 minutes is an acceptable journey time for a train from Chadwell Heath to Stratford! Sort it out National Express East Anglia.”
Another passenger, Martin Campbell, tweeted to say: “Arrived at Liverpool St, 70 min late. Greeted by a row of revenue protection staff and police. National Express East Anglia really loves us today.”
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Jason Graham called the joint Liverpool Street operation “heavy handed”.
Other passengers called on NXEA to reimburse their ticket costs.
A National Express East Anglia spokesperson said: “Network Rail engineers were able to rectify faults by 9am but some services were delayed after this time as we recovered the scheduled timetable as quickly as possible.”
He continued: “We do carry-out regular revenue protection exercises at Liverpool Street and other stations on our network as part of proactive actions we take to help ensure that the vast majority of passengers are travelling with valid tickets.
“We try to ensure these exercises are undertaken to minimise inconvenience and we’re sorry if any passengers were further delayed as a result this morning.”
NXEA will lose control of the Greater Anglia franchise in the New Year after the Department for Transport stripped the firm of the right to run trains on the line. The franchise will be taken over by Dutch rail firm Abellio on February 5.